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Diabetes is widely recognized as one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. According to death certificate data, diabetes contributed to the deaths of more than 193,140 people in 1996.
Diabetes is associated with long-term complications that affect almost every part of the body. The disease often leads to blindness, heart and blood vessel disease, strokes, kidney failure, amputations, and nerve damage. Uncontrolled diabetes can complicate pregnancy, and birth defects are more common in babies born to women with diabetes.
In 1997, diabetes cost the United States $98 billion. Indirect costs, including disability payments, time lost from work, and premature death, totaled $54 billion; direct medical costs for diabetes care, including hospitalizations, medical care, and treatment supplies, totaled $44 billion.
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